Can we just pause for a second to appreciate how good fresh lemon zest smells? This little pile of goodness made me thankful for all of my life choices yesterday.
A few years ago, my good friend Ronda gifted me with the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which is an incredibly awesome cookbook and my favorite because, as the name implies, the recipes have been tested. It's filled with information like why you need to have butter softened and not melted (or melted and not softened) or how to get the perfect texture, or why one thing works better than another—really, a behind the scenes peek as to why they made each choice in the recipe and why each recipe is perfect, just the way it is.
And yet... I tweaked their sugar cookie recipe. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I usually get the urge to bake something when the pantry is getting low and I need to hit the grocery store, and this day was no different. I browsed my ATKFC looking to make my go-to Big and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (which I've altered to use 3 types of chocolate chips—swoon), but soon realized I was out of chips. So when I found the lemon poppyseed variation of sugar cookies, I knew what I was making.
Because I had lemons. And this makes me think of the new show on NBC, This is Us, which is part of the reason why I want comfort food, because it's got me feeling all the feels. And if you've seen it, you get that lemon reference. But I digress.
Lemon Poppyseed Sugar Cookies
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
2 1/2c AP flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T poppyseeds
juice and zest of 1 lemon (divided)
1 3/4 sticks butter (unsalted, softened)
2 t vanilla
2 lg eggs
Set oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment or a baking mat.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt & poppyseeds in a medium bowl.
Beat butter and 1 1/2c sugar in large bowl on medium for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add vanilla, lemon zest and eggs (one at a time) until combined. Stand mixers are great for this. If you have one, I suggest you use it. I used mine. His name is Heisenberg.
Slowly add flour mixture until combined.
Make 2T portions and roll with wet hands spaced apart on prepared cookie sheets. I ended up with 36 cookies at this size. Now it's time to squash them!
Dip a glass in lemon juice and then remaining 1/2c sugar and press down each cookie to flatten and sneakily add more lemon and sweetness.
Bake, one pan at a time for 12 minutes, turning pan halfway through.
Cookies will be pale and should look slightly underdone. I resisted my urge to leave them in for longer and was rewarded with perfectly chewy cookies. Cool on the pan until they're a bit more set and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
These cookies are a great balance of tart and sweet. Initially, my plan was to use that lemon juice as a glaze with powdered sugar (because yes), but the recipe called for buttering the glass before pressing down the cookies and then sprinkling with sugar. I didn't want to overpower the tart lemon with too much sugar, so this was a good compromise. Scratch that—a great compromise. I recommend you make them.
And I recommend you get a copy of the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook because it's got a section for everything. It just might help me overcome my fear of the Instapot. His name is Potsie. We're still working on the terms of our relationship.